County board actions: design begins for medical examiner's facility, director appointed for community corrections and rehabilitation

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.



Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

County board actions

The board approved a contract to begin design of the proposed regional medical examiner's facility; appointed a new director of community corrections and rehabilitation; approved an initial design for Hennepin County Library - Hosmer; approved an agreement that will advance commercial clean energy; and more.

test header

Design begins for regional medical examiner's facility  

The board approved a contract for initial design of a new regional medical examiner’s facility, anticipated to open as early as 2020 in Minnetonka.

At 69,000 square feet, the proposed facility would be considerably larger than the current building, located in downtown Minneapolis near the Hennepin County Medical Center. It would be located on county property next to the County Home School and near Interstate 494 and County Road 62.

A larger, improved facility would equip staff to handle growing case volumes and help train, recruit and retain the most qualified forensic science professionals. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office is the largest in the state, providing services for deaths that occur in Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties.  

Hennepin County is seeking $26.2 million in state bonding for the $57.8 million project, which may begin construction as early as August 2019. Hennepin County will enter into a $755,498 contract with Leo A Daly Company to complete this first phase of design work. 

Read more about this project.

Read more about this action.

test footer

Community corrections and rehabilitation director appointed

The board appointed Catherine Johnson as director of Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, effective early December. She succeeds Chet Cooper in this position, who began his new role as assistant county administrator and chief operating officer in September. Johnson brings 22 years of leadership experience with the Minneapolis Police Department to this position. She most recently served as inspector of the department's 3rd Precinct in south Minneapolis and previously served as a division commander. In addition, Johnson currently co-chairs the Hennepin County Adult Detention Initiative, an effort to reduce disparities within the criminal justice system.  

Read more about this appointment.  

Hennepin County Library - Hosmer renovation project moves forward

The board approved an initial design for renovations of the Hennepin County Library – Hosmer in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis. As part of this action, the board also approved a contract to continue design work and authorized staff to issue a request for proposals for construction. Renovations will begin in spring 2018 and cost an estimated $4.4 million. The library will close for several months and reopen by the end of 2018. Upgrades will include improved access to library services, new furnishings and increased access to technology.

Read more about the project.

Read more about this action.

Agreement will support commercial clean energy projects

The board approved an agreement with the St. Paul Port Authority that will advance commercial and industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout the county. On behalf of cities and to assist property owners, Hennepin County will apply property tax assessments on commercial properties that participate in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Facilitated by the Port Authority, this program helps commercial properties overcome financial challenges to making energy-saving and clean energy upgrades.This agreement allows financing to remain in place following property sales, ensuring property owners pay for the portion of projects from which they benefit.

Read more about this agreement.

Funding will continue connecting clients at county jail to recovery services

The board accepted renewed grant funding to help link people who are at high risk to return to jail with services in the community. This action will continue to fund a position for the integrated access team, a group that works with people who have significant mental health and chemical dependency issues. This multidisciplinary group of social workers, chemical health counselors, housing specialists and community health staff work with Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office staff and medical staff at the jail.

Learn more about the county's justice behavioral health initiatives.

Learn more about this action.

Grant funding will support advocacy for African-American crime victims

The board accepted a $280,000 Minnesota Department of Public Safety grant to provide client assistance and employ two advocates who will serve African-American crime victims. These advocates recently joined the victim services division of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. Advocates support victims by providing case updates, explaining court procedures, answering questions, making referrals and offering other forms of assistance.

Read more about the victim services divsion

Read more about this grant funding.

Medical examiner's office recognized for identifying powerful new opioid

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office recently received national recognition for identifying a powerful opioid, carfentanil, as the cause of multiple overdose-related deaths. Assistant Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Rebecca Wilcoxon accepted the Susan P. Baker Public Health Impact Award last week at the National Association of Medical Examiner’s annual scientific meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Earlier this year, the Medical Examiner's Office identified the drug as the cause of 11 overdose-related deaths — and worked with agencies at all levels to organize a public health response. Carfentanil, a drug 100 times more potent than the already dangerous fentanyl, cannot yet be detected using routine toxicology tests. 

Upcoming hearings for county's 2018 budget

Public works

Tuesday, October 31, 1 - 4 p.m.

Capital budgeting task force and fees

Thursday, November 2, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Public safety

Tuesday, November 21, 9 a.m. to noon

Truth-in-taxation public meeting

Tuesday, November 28, 6 p.m. Participants can park for free after 5 p.m. in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Avenue.

Commissioner amendments

Thursday, November 30, 9 - 11:30 a.m.

Commissioner amendments

Wednesday, December 6, 1 - 4 p.m.

County board vote on 2018 budget and levy

Tuesday, December 12, 1:30 p.m.

Current and archival board meetings, agendas and minutes are available online. View at

– 30 –

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at

Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at